Cosplay: Subculture, Hobby or Way of Life? 
I’ve seen a variety of debates covering this subject. The only answer that doesn’t make me grimace or want to argue is the general answer “It depends on the person doing it.” I think that is the best answer, but the process of scanning these debates made me wonder about the narrow views that some people have of cosplay.


(Attendees from the Library's 10th annual Animecon try there hand at cosplay)

It’s not surprising for someone who isn’t familiar with cosplay to raise an eyebrow when they see someone “dressed up.” It begs the question, “Why are they dressed up?” What does surprise me is the number of people within the practice of cosplay that limit themselves and others on the broad array of cosplay to be experienced and shared.

Some cosplay arises from comic, anime and manga fandom. In that instance, it is often viewed as a subculture. The passion for particular characters arises out of a particular series or style; so, the cosplay is secondary or sub to the initial interest.

But how do you define it when the cosplay is a result of a passion for a particular movie or video game that doesn’t have a “culture”? What if the person makes one costume to bring to life one character that they love? That’s just plain old fandom, right?

Then there are people who bring to life multiple characters from multiple formats: movies, video games, novels, manga/anime, online comics. They don’t stick to any one series or format. The just bring to life the characters that grab their imagination and interest. I guess that becomes a hobby.

And hobby can also be applied to people that just love creating costumes. These people can be very singular in a style or origin for their costuming, or they can be interested in challenging themselves by seeing how many different types of costumes they can create.

Does that become a way of life? When does a hobby stop being just a hobby and become a way of life?

Is it when you become a “professional” cosplayer like, Jessica Nigri or Anna "Ormeli" Moleva? When you create your own company like Holly Conrad or Bill Doran? Or is it more gradual?

So, let’s revisit my original comment about some people viewing cosplay too narrowly. Within subcultures and fandoms there is a bad tendency to “turn up” the nose at people who are not in your particular clique. It seems counterproductive. The thing that makes a community thrive is its members. And you get more members by making the subculture, hobby or way of life inviting.

Wouldn’t it make more sense to at least allow for the appreciation of other types of cosplay? From what I’ve seen of the various types of cosplay, the most successful cosplayers and costume creators are those that at least study a broad array of what’s out there. If cosplayers of all types acknowledge and appreciate one another, it increases the chance that the world of cosplay will continue to grow and thrive.

I feel I must acknowledge and give credit to the cosplayers that already embrace this way of approaching cosplay. Not only are they helping to make it more mainstream, but they honestly seem to have more fun. That’s ultimately what it’s about, right? Having fun?

What do you think?

-Angel, Teen Services, Bon Air Regional Branch

[ 146 comments ] ( 2324 views )
Teen Summer Reading Grand Prize 
The Library's Summer Reading is almost over. We are pleased to announce that this year's GRAND PRIZE will be an ASUS Transformer Pad TF300T. This awesome 10.1" tablet comes with a mobile dock and runs the latest version of Android (Jelly Bean 4.2). Click the image below for more device specifics.

Be sure to turn in your Teen Summer Reading Card before Saturday, August 10 to get your name in for the grand prize drawing.

[ 105 comments ] ( 1500 views )
Keep Summer Reading Going with Chemistry at Home! 
Do you love cool chemistry tricks, and don’t want the summer reading theme to end? Like flashy chemistry experiments but you don’t have a lab of your own? Well, you’re in luck! Here’s a Summer Reading Stinger: the Chemistry Continues! Here are some amazing online resources, and even some experiments you can do at home!



Internet Resources



NurdRage
This fantastic YouTube channel features spectacular experiments that we can’t do at home! Ever wonder what’s in glow-sticks? Want to shatter hearts with liquid Nitrogen? Will it oxidize?? Find out all this and more with NurdRage.

Oak Ridge Health Physics Museum Online
In case you haven’t already clicked the link just from reading the title, Oak Ridge National Laboratory was one of the flagship sites for the Manhattan Project – America’s successful bid to build a nuclear bomb. They deal in all manner of nuclear experimentation. But this very special website is dedicated to history: the history of radioactivity and human culture. Radioactive toothpaste, buttons from the Chernobyl control room, and the infamous Shoe-Fitting Flouroscope are just three of the delightful entries in the online museum. Fascinating histories and descriptions as well as radiation dosage rates (where applicable) are provided.

In the Pipeline – Things I Won’t Work With
For a more technical read, there’s the In the Pipeline blog by a research chemist. Along with his reviews of literature, commentary on the industry and so on, however, the author also provides an entertaining look into the chemicals that scare chemists. The “Things I Won’t Work With” category reads as a litany of the lethally poisonous, the highly explosive, and the just plain stinky.

At Home Experiments



Clean Pennies
You can make a grubby old corroded penny look shiny as new by rubbing it gently with salt and vinegar. Rinse your shiny pennies in water and dry them off for a permanent finish. (Just don’t do this with expensive coins that people might want to collect. Removing the patina removes the value.)

Instant Freeze Soda
One cool experiment making the rounds takes advantage of the ability of some liquids to stay liquid below their freezing point if there’s nothing for ice crystals to form on. Soda, luckily for us, is one of these. Shake a sealed plastic bottle of soda really hard. You want to get all that CO2 out of solution, and raise the pressure. Then, put your pop in the freezer for about two and a half hours… the exact time might take some trial and error to perfect. Be careful, though, a soda bottle forgotten in the freezer for too long will explode (this is also why you shouldn’t leave soda cans out in a car trunk in freezing weather). Finally, when your sodas are super-cooled, but still liquid, you can uncap the bottle suddenly (releasing the built-up pressure and lowering the temperature even more) and pour yourself an instant slushie.

Vinegar Bone
While the ever-popular Naked Egg (48 hours sitting in vinegar will strip the shell right off a raw egg) is very well-known, one of the greatest hits in the Teen Outpost this summer was the Vinegar Bone. Steep a clean chicken bone in vinegar for about two weeks, and the vinegar will react with the calcium in the bone, leaving behind only rubbery connective tissue. Gross! You might even be able to tie your bone in a knot! (Rib bones – long and slender – are good for knot-tying.)

-Katherine Skaggs, Teen Services, Teen Outpost, Highlands/Shelby Park Branch

[ 148 comments ] ( 2890 views )
Join us for Animecon X! 


Main Library, Friday, August 2, 9:30 am - 4:00 pm


The Louisville Free Public Library is celebrating ten years of Animecon! The annual convention is a day-long celebration featuring anime-themed activities, games, contests, and more - FREE.

Highlights of this year’s event will include a performance by the Cincinnati-Dayton Taiko Drumming Group, a workshop on stop-motion animation, the annual ramen noodle eating contest, costume contests and anime screenings.

This event is free - Click Here to register or call 574-1620.

Teens ages 12-19.

[ 155 comments ] ( 2263 views )
A Fresh Start to Superhero Comics 
If you haven’t grown up reading superhero comics the hardest part is figuring out where to start. Trying to choose your first title can be daunting: so many characters, years of storylines, learning what is or isn’t canon, etc... As an aspiring superhero comics reader I was at a loss, until I discovered The New 52 from DC Comics. The New 52 cancelled all of DC’s existing storylines and began a “soft reboot” of popular series, starting over from issue #1. This allows you to start a series from the beginning but also offers a reference point for learning about older comics related to the new titles. Many of The New 52 titles are worth checking out, especially if you have a favorite character, but I’m going to tell you about two of my favorites and additional titles to read when you’re done.



Batgirl Vol. 1: The Darkest Reflection (The New 52).
Barbara Gorden/Batgirl might be a protégé of Batman and the commissioner's daughter, but she can hold her own in Gotham City. She’s a master of karate and a genius to boot. The Darkest Reflection begins shortly after Gorden recovers from three years of paralysis. She is racked with survivor’s guilt and has flashbacks to the night she opened the door to find the Joker, who then shot her and left her to die. Gorden struggles to overcome posttraumatic stress disorder and regain her physical and psychological strength while reentering the crime fighting scene. You’ll learn about other members of the Bat Family and get a glimpse into Batman’s extended universe.

Further Reading


Batman: The Killing Joke by Alan Moore.
The Killing Joke details the events following Barbara Gorden’s shooting. The open-ending will give you the creeps and send you searching for the sequel (spoiler, there isn’t one).

Birds of Prey: Of Like Minds by Gail Simone.
After she is paralyzed by the Joker, Batgirl the crime-fighting librarian becomes Oracle the wheelchair bound computer genius and hacker extraordinaire. Oracle leads the Birds of Prey, a team of crime fighting women involved in global espionage.



Swamp Thing Vol 1: Raise Them Bones (The New 52) by Scott Snyder.
Swamp Thing plays homage to classic b-movie horror films and he is THE environmentalist super hero (move over Captain Planet). In some versions of Swamp Thing, the character is Alec Holland turned monster from the swamp but Snyder’s antihero sticks to the Alan Moore backstory of a plant creature with the memories of the deceased Alec Holland. In this story, he has regained his human form but cannot forget his time as Swamp Thing. This story is pure horror as Holland finds himself in an age old battle between the Green and the Rot.

Further Reading


Anything by Scott Snyder, he seems to be writing every new DC title and with his talent it’s clear why.

Saga of the Swamp Thing by Alan Moore.
This graphic novel should sway anyone who doesn’t believe comics can be high art, while remaining true to its roots in pulp horror. Read this Alan Moore masterpiece, then read everything else he’s written.

What was the first superhero comic you read? Do you have a suggestion for new comic readers? Have you enjoyed any of The New 52? Let us know in the comments.

-Ruth Houston, Teen Services, Teen Underground @ Main

[ 137 comments ] ( 2270 views )

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